Published Wednesday, February 06, 2013
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
In Tuesday's special election for the District 71 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Republican candidate David Stover had an overwhelming lead, getting more votes than his two closest competitors combined.
But it wasn't quite enough to win the six-person race without a runoff.
The runoff will be between Stover and Tom Crymes, and will be held March 5.
With all precincts reporting, Stover had 42.68 percent of the votes.
Stover took 1,166 votes, or 42.68 percent, to Crymes' 545 votes, or 19.95 percent.
Third place went to Darryl Marmon, with 459 votes, 16.8 percent. Lone Democrat Cynthia Bennett placed a very close fourth, with 457 votes, 16.73 percent.
Michael Farbo Jr. garnered 70 votes, 2.56 percent, and Richard Weisser received 35 votes, 1.28 percent.
"I feel good," Stover said at his election night reception at SummerGrove Town Hall in Newnan. "It's good to be where we are. But it's not about me, it's about all my supporters who have stood behind me."
"We will change things up a little bit the second time," he added, referring to the runoff. "We will push harder and have a few additional changes we're going to do."
About 40 Stover supporters gathered at the SummerGrove Town Hall to watch results. A laptop was connected to a screen to show results but, unfortunately, they couldn't connect to the wifi, so Stover would stand occasionally and read results off an iPhone. Each time, he was leading. Each time, his supporters cheered.
When asked about going into a legislative session that's already started, Stover just shook his hands and said "stuff happens"
"I will just have to get going and do the best I can," he said. "I've been following the legislature every day."
"Having no big political background, this was quite a humbling experience," said Crymes Tuesday night from his election night event at Canongate clubhouse in north Coweta. "I'm amazingly humbled by the support from friends in the community and all the voters in District 71 that showed some confidence in me," Crymes said. "I appreciate the other five that ran against me. I truly appreciate the sacrifice it took to step up and do that." There were "good candidates" and "good competition," Crymes said.
He'll be spending the next four weeks "continuing our positive, job creating, fiscal responsibility message," he said. "That's my background, being a business owner... I think we've lined it up and keyed it up to win this thing," Crymes said. "I really feel like we've got some good support and I'm the candidate to win it."
Even though he was behind Stover by hundreds of votes, "there were six people running. I imagine some of the people who supported the other candidates will lend their support to me," Crymes said.
"I don't know if they all will," he said. "We'll see. I think from having little political background that we made a good, strong showing.
"And I'm excited about the next four weeks," Crymes said.
Crymes said he was amazed at the low voter turnout. In Coweta, there were only 2,670 votes. One of his strategies over the next month will be increasing voter turnout. "Encouraging people to be heard, and go out and put me in office."
The turnout in Coweta was 7.87 percent, said Coweta Elections Superintendent Jane Scoggins. There are 34,007 registered Coweta voters in District 71.
In Fayette County, the turnout was even lower. There are 3,000 voters in the district and only 62 cast votes in the race, for a turnout of 2.1 percent.
The Coweta vote count came in very early. Polls closed at 7 p.m. and the vote count was completed at 8:11 p.m., Scoggins said.
The poll workers had everything done quickly, and workers uploaded the absentee and early voting counts first.
Everything went very smoothly at all the precincts, as well, Scoggins said.
"I attribute that to good workers," she said. "I'm just proud of everybody."
In all 2,670 votes were cast in Coweta. Precincts involved and turnout included: Moreland, 208; Sharpsburg, 329; Fischer Road, 272; Raymond, 188; Turin, 121; Arts Centre, 217; White Oak, 279; Madras, 250; Cannongae, 281; Thomas Crossroads, 346; Ebenezer Church Road, 179.
(The Newnan Times-Herald reporter John A. Winters assisted with this article.)